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Importance of Guard Retention


Over the last several years this topic has become a popular one. This definitely seems to be the case every time a name or phrase is given to a certain aspect of grappling by a prominent grappler or instructor. Even those topics that have been in play for quite some time.


So what is Guard Retention? Basically, it’s keeping your opponent either in or at your legs. Another way to look at it is keeping your legs between you (or your torso) and the opponent. Since a huge goal in BJJ is to pass the guard, being able to keep someone from doing that is important.


There are many conceptual and practical methods of Guard Retention. Some are learned and some you may stumble upon during your rolls. Either way, practice and drill them often if you want to improve your chances of stopping your opponent from passing. Here are some high level looks at a few heavy hitters and those we practice at AXTJJ:


· “Headlights” Concept – This was discussed in a previous AXTJJ blog. The idea is by keeping your opponent in front of you within the “headlight” zone they are unable to pass. This leads to the next concept.


· "Scooting vs. Shrimping" Concept – Do you know what scooting is? How about when scooting should be used instead of shrimping, and vice versa?


· "Crazy Legs" Concept – Many will think that this is the same as doing leg circles, but it isn’t. More goes into Crazy Legs and having this concept down is imperative to Guard Retention.


· “Resetting” Concept – A simple idea, but not knowingly used as often as it should be.


· "Open Guard First" Concept – This idea is debatable but important to understand. Many schools of thought believe learning Closed Guard should be done before Open Guard. However, once this concept is grasped it tends to improve a player’s Guard Retention quite well.


“Where can I get more info on this concept Coach?!” Pay attention in class, drill and apply them during your rolls, and do your homework. There are plenty of resources out there to get a firm education on this subject, and doing so will only improve your game.


Learn. Drill. Roll. TRANSFORM!


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